Train passengers were evacuated from three Liverpool underground stations yesterday (January 13th) due to a fire.
The fire originated inside a ceramic pot at Liverpool Central station. Smoke could be seen coming down the Wirral line, but the blaze remained contained to the pot, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Ceramic insulator pots are situated beneath the rail line and are used to support the live rail throughout the network. They are also used in the London Underground.
Passengers were asked to leave Liverpool Central, Moorfields and James Street stations for between five and ten minutes in separate evacuations between 12:15 and 12:45 GMT.
One passenger said the smoke made him and other passengers start coughing.
A spokeswoman for Merseyrail said: “The smoke was caused by a ceramic pot. These support the live rail throughout the network. We do apologise to passengers for any inconvenience even if it was for a short period.”
Train passenger Jason Mawdsley, who was waiting for a train to Orrell Park at the time, said: “I was standing on the platform when this smoke came down from the tunnel. It started thin and got thicker. There were about 50 people there, I could feel it on my chest and other people started coughing too.
“An alarm went off and everyone got told to get out,” he remarked.
Mr Mawdsley commented that he thought someone fell over as they were hurrying back up to the entrance. He heard that there had been a fire and that an object had fallen onto the train tracks.
After they had vacated the scene, an engineer went down to investigate. Once the station staff were happy the situation had been resolved, passengers were allowed back down onto the platform again.
Merseyrail confirmed that nobody was injured during the incident, but said trains needed to run through the stations to clear the smoke. The stations have now re-opened to the public.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.